Another Drumbeat Heard From
From Israeli columnist Ari Shavit, writing in Haaretz:
A few years ago Netanyahu held an in-depth discussion with Middle East expert Bernard Lewis. At the end of the talk he was convinced that if the ayatollahs obtained nuclear weapons, they would use them. Since that day, Netanyahu seems convinced that we are living out a rerun of the 1930s.
He hasn’t forgotten for a moment that two leaders he happens to admire, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, didn’t lift a finger to save European Jewry during the Holocaust. He is convinced that U.S. President Barack Obama won’t lift a finger to save Israeli Jewry. Thus he believes solely in the Israeli sword, seeing it as a deep expression and the last defense of the Zionist revolution.
As of now, the military option is proving to be a diplomatic success. It managed to shake the international community out of its apathy and made a definitive contribution to the tightening of the diplomatic and economic siege on Iran.
But the time for playing diplomatic games with the military option is drawing to a close. There’s a limit to how many times one can cry wolf. There’s a point at which a “hold-me-back” policy exhausts itself. And that’s a very dangerous point, because suddenly the military option turns into a real option.
The Netanyahu-Obama meeting in two weeks will be definitive. If the U.S. president wants to prevent a disaster, he must give Netanyahu iron-clad guarantees that the United States will stop Iran in any way necessary and at any price, after the 2012 elections. If Obama doesn’t do this, he will obligate Netanyahu to act before the 2012 elections.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that the preference for some segment of Israeli public opinion is that the U. S. attack Iran on Israel’s behalf, if for no other reason that that Israel’s ability to remove the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon by an attack analogous to those on Iraqi and Syrian nuclear reactors is in question.
What should President Obama say to PM Netanyahu? What can he say?